Koeman and Pique lash out at the referee after the game against Real Madrid at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stéfano in Madrid
The season-defining El Clasico ended in a frustrating defeat for Ronald Koeman and his men. After a lacklustre first half, the Blaugrana made a strong comeback but were denied by a resolute Real Madrid defence. And also by the woodwork and the referee….
The particular incident that infuriated Koeman involved Barcelona’s Braithwaite and Real’s Mendy after the latter made contact with the Dane inside the box, only for the referee to disregard it and carry on with the game.
Karim Benzema and Toni Kroos had put the home side in control in the first half. The second half saw Barca spring back into life. They created more chances, threatened in attack and ultimately got rewarded with a goal from centre back Oscar Mingueza.
However, despite improving after the break, several controversial calls by the match official Gil Manzano dampened their hopes of a turnaround.
This is what the Real Madrid players did when Koeman and Pique protested against the referee
An El Clasico Night Embittered by officiating and defensive lapses
Lionel Messi, who had failed to score in his last eight Clasicos, extended his dry run to eight. He has failed to find the net in this fixture after Cristiano left for Turin.
Koeman, despite admitting that his side’s below-par performance was responsible for the defeat, criticized the referees as well. “The defeat is very clear and I don’t know why there is no VAR in Spain. Once again we have to shut up and accept it.”, said the Dutchman.
Gerard Pique, who did not play a part in the proceedings due to an injury was furious as well. He was found confronting Manzano after the whistle about the penalty incident.
And they both had a pretty convincing reason to be mad about it. The referee did not only deny Barca a deserved penalty but the time added on was also ridiculously short.
The heavy downpour in Madrid disrupted the referee’s audio equipment. The referee had to pause play during the 70th minute to fix it. And it took him at least 6 minutes to get it right, before resuming play. However, the time added on was just 4 minutes, which invited a lot of protests from the Blaugrana bench.
Journalist San Perez from El Chiringuito TV reported the confrontation between Koeman and the referee. Perez claims that the Pique-Koeman pair was ‘screaming’ at Manzano and using ‘strong words.’ The altercation finally stopped when the Real Madrid players intervened.
Gil Manzano again in the controversy after El Clasico
Gil Manzano has upset Barcelona earlier as well. He was the one who sent Messi off in the Supercopa de Espana final. Barca went on to lose the game 3-2 to Athletic Bilbao. He has also shown reds to Luis Suarez and Neymar during their tenure at the club.
Barcelona was as usual, unfortunate in the game. Messi, despite not having scored, produced a brilliant display. The Argentine even came close to scoring an Olympic goal late in the first half. His curling shot from the corner hit the far post instead of going in.
Zinedine Zidane’s men had anticipated Barcelona’s attacking style of play. All they did throughout the game was sit back and absorb the pressure with some last-ditch defending. And while Barcelona had more of the ball in the opponent’s half, they struggled to create clear chances. As for the ones they did end up creating, their forwards could not capitalize.
A victory for Real Madrid at this stage only means that Barca has fallen behind in their race to the title. The Los Blancos currently sit at the top of the table although Atletico Madrid still has the upper hand.